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Manhattan Food Engineer Identifies Immune-Boosting Foods

As the global healthcare system races to develop an effective treatment for COVID-19, the new coronavirus, Manhattan food engineer Asli Samanci says she has identified dietary changes that can help the body fight infection and speed recovery from disease.

First observed in Wuhan, China, the disease has sickened more than 60,000 people and killed thousands, according to the World Health Organization. It attacks the respiratory system and causes symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, weakness, throat pain and high fever. 

No vaccine is available yet, and healthcare providers are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, as avoid overusing them renders them less effective.

Against that backdrop, natural medicinal products are becoming increasingly popular for boosting immunity, a critical determinant in regulating virulence and disease outcomes, according to health literature.

In addition to immune-supporting habits like staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep and eating lots of fruits and vegetables, Samanci recommends adding specific foods and spices to the diet.

Immune Boosters

“Antioxidant-rich foods, such as onions, garlic, apple vinegar, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon, are widely recommended,” she says. “It’s also wise to add Anatolian propolis, which has shown antiviral, antimicrobial and powerful antioxidant properties.”

Found in bee products, Anatolian propolis is one of the most potent antioxidant sources in the world, she adds—almost 80 times more powerful than pomegranate juice. 

In 2013, on the strength of her research into Anatolian propolis, Samanci co-founded the Manhattan company Bee&You, which has since won 30 awards for its line of natural, healthy bee products. The company also advocates for bees and beekeepers through its unique business model.

In addition to propolis, Samanci recommends royal jelly, ginseng, ginger and turmeric, and dishes like yogurt and kefir, which contain beneficial microorganisms, for bolstering the immune system before and during the stress of travel.

Apple cider vinegar, which humans have used for thousands of years, is another powerful wellness tool, she says. It contains organic acids, phenolic compounds, vitamins and minerals, and when it’s consumed, it acts as “a disinfectant” to protect the body against viruses. 

Her immune-boosting recipe? One tablespoon each raw honey and apple cider vinegar, 10 drops of Anatolian propolis, and a pinch each of ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.

“Take this twice a day,” she says, “and it will help strengthen your immune system by making you more resistant to viral infections.”

Bee&You products can be found at 3,000 CVS online and physical stores in the United States, on Amazon and at

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